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More Speculations Ahead Of Mueller's Testimony; Joe Biden Unveils New Plan; The 2020 Presidential Race; American Teen Detained By ICE; Justice Department Launching Broad Antitrust Review Of Nation's Biggest Technology Companies. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired July 23, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
In just nine and a half hours, 8.30 a.m. Eastern Time, obviously tomorrow morning, Robert Mueller, the former special counsel will raise his right hand and begin his public testimony on Capitol Hill. He will be questioned for the first few hours by members of the House Judiciary Committee and then he'll appear before the House Intelligence Committee.
Tonight, sources are telling CNN that President Trump is irritated by the thought of Robert Mueller testifying in public, not so much anxious about it, but irritated also he has been quizzing aides about what he can expect to hear tomorrow.
One major question hanging over Robert Mueller's testimony could the outcome sway undecided House Democrats on impeachment?
CNN's Manu Raju asked some lawmakers about that and some of them sidestep the question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you think tomorrow's testimony could change the House's course on impeachment?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): We want to make sure that the facts are clearly communicated to the American people. And Bob Mueller will be in a position to do that.
RAJU: Do you think tomorrow's hearing will move the dial on impeachment at all?
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): I think tomorrow's hearing is very important. It will be the first opportunity for most Americans to actually hear what the special counsel's report found, the evidence he uncovered.
RAJU: Do you think that tomorrow will change the course of impeachment here in the House?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Look, it's hard to know exactly what's going to come out of this hearing. But I do think that probably the most important thing that we can expect that we will get is that Mueller will tell us what was in the report.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, let's get to the big picture right now. Here to discuss, Shimon Prokupecz, Nia-Malika Henderson, and Julian Epstein who served as chief counsel for House Judiciary Committee Democrats during the Clinton impeachment.
So, thank you all for joining us. This is a very important time, very important day coming up shortly. Shimon, I'm going to start with you. Democrats are trying of course lower the expectation but the question, there is no question that Mueller's testimony is a big deal for both sides. They have a lot riding on it.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Certainly, they do both have a lot riding on it but, you know, you can make a fair argument here that the Democrats have a lot more riding on it. They are the ones that wanted him to come in. It's their committee. They are in charge. They have a lot more at stake in of this.
And for the Republicans, it's really, you know, it would seem at this point it's all about dirtying up Mueller as much as they can. And for the Democrats, it's going to be more about shoring him up, trying to show that his investigation was effective and that there were conclusions, important conclusions that he came to that now the public really needs to hear from him, in most cases as you said, for the first time.
LEMON: Yes. Julian, listen, you were -- you served as top counsel to the Democrats during the Clinton impeachment. So how tough is it going to be for Democrats really to get their points across to get what they need done in the time constraints with a reluctant witness. That's not going to be an easy task, is it?
JULIAN EPSTEIN, FORMER DEMOCRATIC CHIEF COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Hard. And this is a be careful what you wish for moment for Democrats. So, I think Shimon is exactly right.
LEMON: Why do you say that?
EPSTEIN: Because I think Democrats have more to lose here. I think the public right now is about 21 percent for impeachment and Mueller has unfortunately set the terms of the debate.
I mean, the notion in 1998 that we would have let Ken Starr tell us he was only going to come in for three hours. I mean, what is it that Bob Mueller have to do that's more important than testify on something that so critically important. And this notion about limiting the testimony to three hours I think is just wrong.
I think secondly, this notion --
LEMON: Wait, go back. Because why do you think this is wrong?
EPSTEIN: Because I think that the committee needs much more time to examine a 400-plus page report that is incredibly detailed about the Russian attack on the United States and the obstruction of justice questions.
EPSTEIN: I just think it's -- I just think it's absurdly -- it's absurdly artificial. But secondly, I think there is a bigger question. This notion that Mueller has that he cannot commit on the question of obstruction of justice because the president doesn't have the right to defend himself, he just pulled that out of thin air.
There is no statute. There is no regulation. There is no principle that exists in the Justice Department on president.
When Ken Starr gave us the report in 1998, he detailed over a dozen instances in which he thought the president had violated criminal laws on obstruction of justice and perjury. And the president was able to go through impeachment process and Clinton came out of that process feeling vindicated.
[23:05:01] So this notion that he can't commit on this question about whether he thinks there was obstruction of justice is just -- there is no legal foundation. He literally made that up.
And I think the Democrats here have this notion that they don't want to antagonize him because he's the star witness but I think letting him set the terms of the debate on that question has been a huge mistake.
And I think by the same token, they should also ask him the same way that Ken Starr committed in 1998 to identifying at least a dozen instances of impeachable conduct. I think if Mueller doesn't want to answer whether he thinks at least the four instances that he outlined in the report were obstruction of justice, there is no legal reason, no president reason, no other reason why he can't say that this conduct, this misconduct is an impeachable offense.
And I think they should push him on that. And I think the Democrat have kind of taken, have taken kind of a soft peddle to that and I think that's a mistake because I think what we'll have at the end of this is a Rorschach test --
EPSTEIN: -- where the Republican see what they want to see --
EPSTEIN: -- the Democrats see what they want to see and we're going to be status quo on Friday.
LEMON: That's some -- that's my question to you. What about the Republicans? What are we going to hear from this? NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. I mean, I
think we can expect that the Republicans will carry the president's water and carry the president's message about this, right? That it's rigged. There are 18 or so angry Democrats who are part of this they are going to get into the roots of the --
LEMON: I say mostly Republicans?
HENDERSON: I think, yes, yes. I mean, that's right, that's right. And obviously you have in Mueller who is also a registered Republican, right?
HENDERSON: But I think you can expect that they are going to go after Bob Mueller and as (Inaudible) said, they are basically going to try to muddy him up. And I think this is where we're going to see sort of a Mueller that we haven't really seen before. Certainly recently.
LEMON: But don't you think --
HENDERSON: Because he has tangoed with these folks before. Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, for instance, as well.
LEMON: But don't you think that could backfire on them.
HENDERSON: I think so. I think that's right. I mean, do they risk sort of going too far? Here is Bob Mueller who has a sterling reputation came in with a sterling reputation, right, as sort of bipartisan reputation.
So, if you have these folks, I think going after him in a way and kind of having him to defend the reputation of the FBI --
HENDERSON: -- that could be a sticky situation for some --
LEMON: Wait. Hold on, Shimon.
LEMON: Just to make the point of what Nia is talking about, and I'll let you guys. Let's just listen to Lindsey Graham. Manu Raju caught up with Lindsey Graham. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I don't think it's going to change public opinion. Having been involved in the Clinton impeachment if the public is not with you, you'll pay a price and I don't think anything Mueller can say that's going to change anybody's mind. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You said Rorschach test -- but discuss.
PROKUPECZ: The thing that I want us also make, you know --
PROKUPECZ: -- I don't know how much this could backfire on Republicans and why I feel that way because no one is going to have any kind of sympathy for Robert Mueller. He's not going to come -- he's not going to be a sympathetic witness.
I think some folks actually are going to get irritated by his responses and by him by his trying to escape some of these answers. So, I think that's going to be interesting.
And perhaps for the Republicans, you know, that's probably what they maybe -- maybe that's what they're going to want from him. So, I think that's going to be interesting the dynamics in terms of how Mueller is going to respond to a lot of these questions and does he come out sympathetic.
HENDERSON: And the idea is he going to be sort of treated like a hostile witness --
HENDERSON: -- by both parties? Right? The Democrats and the Republicans? It will be fascinating to see.
EPSTEIN: So, I played defense. I played defense in 1998 during the Clinton impeachment and the Republicans have an easier role than the Democrats particularly when the public opinion is on your side on the question on impeachment.
Public opinion is not on your side -- on their side in terms of whether the president committed misconduct. Sixty percent of the public by in large thinks the president committed some kind of misconduct and has been lying about it but they're not there on the question of impeachment.
I think the left got outweigh too in front of the facts before the Mueller report in terms of alleging conspiracy on the underlying Russian interference question. I think the left, I think the media, I think there is a lot of guilt on the left for going, getting too far out in front of the facts and there is a boy who cried wolf syndrome now where because there was no evidence on underlying criminal conspiracy, there is kind of a boy who cried wolf. There is nothing in the report that was as serious as what's being alleged --
LEMON: And --
EPSTEIN: So that's a problem -- LEMON: That's the evidence in the rise to the level of -- this is how
it was put -- it didn't rise to criminal.
EPSTEIN: So, criminal, right. Precisely. But I think now the Republicans, if they are smart, I know they want to kind of self- medicate and feed their base about the investigating the investigators but if they are smart, all they really need to do, they're kind of going into the fourth quarter right now ahead.
All they have to do is say didn't you say no criminal conspiracy, Mr. Mueller, and aren't you saying you're not ready to commit on a question of obstruction of justice --
LEMON: But let me just play devil's advocate here. Because if you actually read the report, you say -- where it says it didn't rise -- the evidence didn't rise to the level, yes, it wasn't sufficient.
So, doesn't that have to do, does it have to do with how Barr summarized the report in some way and that's --
EPSTEIN: Well --
LEMON: -- public opinion? Because you're saying they got out in front but if you actually read the report --
EPSTEIN: So, there is evidence of illegal conduct not -- in my opinion just not sufficient --
[23:10:01] LEMON: Got it.
EPSTEIN: -- evidence to bring a charge.
LEMON: Got it.
EPSTEIN: I think that also raises the question about what Mueller would have done if there was, what he would have said if there is sufficient evidence given what he's saying on obstruction.
So, I think there is evidence. Democrats can kind of start to pull that out, they can go in the four areas of obstruction of justice and they can say can you repeat, Mr. Mueller that there is substantial evidence of obstruction of justice? That can be persuasive.
But remember, when John Dean testified before the Watergate committee in 1973, 80 million people were watching. My guess is about 15 or 20 million will be watching tomorrow and most of the public has made their mind up.
So, Democrats I think for a whole host of reasons that are too detailed to get into in this conversation are kind of now playing defense or now playing catch up and I'm not sure they are going --
(CROSSTALK) LEMON: OK. Here -- this is the difference. You're right about that. But back then there were three channels, right?
LEMON: And no 24-hour --
EPSTEIN: And no Twitter.
LEMON: And all of that. Because those sound bites will get repeated and repeated and put on other media.
EPSTEIN: And that's the bigger problem.
HENDERSON: Yes. And the president will sort of do his thing to sort of reinterpret it and repackage.
HENDERSON: He's going to West Virginia.
HENDERSON: He's going to be making a speech later that night. So we'll see that as well.
LEMON: I've got to go. The significance of his assistant being --
PROKUPECZ: I think it's very significant --
PROKUPECZ: -- and his protector. This guy has been with him.
LEMON: Aaron Zebley.
PROKUPECZ: Aaron Zebley has been with him since his days at the FBI, he was chief of staff is his right-hand man. I think it is significant. He is going to be there to protect him.
LEMON: All right. Thank you all. I appreciate it.
FBI Director Christopher Wray warned again today of the election threat from Russia. Is this country doing enough to stop it? The former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper weighs in, next.
[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: All eyes on Washington as the former special counsel Robert Mueller prepares to testify in front of the House judiciary and intel committees beginning tomorrow at 8.30. Here to discuss, James Clapper, the former Director of National
Intelligence. Director, good to see you.
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Good to see you, Don.
LEMON: Listen, this is going to be, I think this is the most highly anticipated Congressional testimony in decades tomorrow. What are you expecting?
CLAPPER: Well, it is highly anticipated no question about that and I think in the end, it's probably going to be a little anticlimactic. I don't think it's going to move the needle of opinion. One way or another I think it's going to reinforce, you know, whatever your view is of the president it's just simply going -- people are going to cherry pick and the reinforce their view.
LEMON: You've been very good over the last couple of years of helping us see the forest for the trees here. Do you think that -- and listen, the report shows that they found some very disturbing, just to say evidence in the report, right, findings in the report. Do you think Americans are going to get any clarity, is it going to get any clarity, is it going to get any clearer tomorrow from Robert Mueller?
CLAPPER: Well, I do think having said what I said that this still is a very useful thing because most Americans I don't think have read the entire report. Maybe scanned it and read parts of it and this I think this will bring it to life, you know, of face behind the 448 pages.
So, in some ways, depending on how the Democrats manage this, I think it can be very informative. The other point I make, Don, is I hope director Mueller will speak about the thing that most concerned me more so than collusion or extortion is --
CLAPPER: -- the Russian interference in our election process.
CLAPPER: -- which is Director Wray reaffirmed is continuing and this is long-term a really profound threat to this country.
CLAPPER: And I hope Director Mueller, Special Counsel Mueller speaks to that.
LEMON: Director Wray spoke today about exactly what you're talking about. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Are the Russians still trying to interfere in our election system?
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections through foreign influence --
GRAHAM: Is it fair to say to think that everything we've done against Russia has not deterred them enough? All the sanctions, all the talk, they are still at it?
WRAY: Well, my view is until they stop, they haven't been deterred enough.
GRAHAM: And they're still doing it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, everyone seems to recognize the threat but is enough being done to stop it?
CLAPPER: Obviously not. And I think Director Wray reaffirm that. And I think there's an important point to be made her as well. We dwell a lot on cybersecurity and the securing the voter apparatus, what concerns me more than that is the influence on people's minds on opinions, which the Russians have learned to exploit as we, to a fairly well and they are going to continue that even more aggressively. I predict in 2020.
LEMON: Yes. The director, Director Wray also spoke about the issue of deep fakes, right?
LEMON: Which is highly advanced digital doctored media clips. You've read about deep fakes. We've been reading about all that. Is this something the average American you think should be worried about?
CLAPPER: Absolutely. This is just yet another and, in this case, insidious tool that people with nefarious motives can use to manipulate public opinion and political views.
And you know, Mike Hayden has made this point and I'll reinforce it (Inaudible) I heard for him about. This is, to me, just part of the general assault on truth in this country and those endeavors and institutions that depend on truth.
And when the truth is harder and harder to come by, and when people are out consciously trying to pervert truth and these deep fakes represent that and that's a tremendous threat.
And when I'm out at colleges and universities, I try to implore students that please don't believe everything you see, read and hear on the internet. And getting people to question that is my concern because the Russians will -- are going and have exploited that weakness.
[23:20:03] And they have used it to heighten the divisiveness and polarization in this country and they are going to continue to do it.
LEMON: I want to speak with you about some Politico reporting. And they are reporting the president has been speaking to intelligence -- to the intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes about a potential replacement for Dan Coats, the director national intelligence. How big of a loss would that be if he does leave?
CLAPPER: Well, obviously, it depends on who replaces him. Personally, I think it would be -- probably not doing him any favors here by praising him but I think the role of Dan Coats and the job he's done in a very difficult circumstance.
He is huge to the almost holy written intelligence of truth to power even though that cost him. And now we're seeing the all too familiar pattern of media buzz about replacements. So, regrettably, he's probably on his way out.
LEMON: OK. So then let's speak, you said media buzz about replacement because Politico in that same piece it goes on to mention that Devin Nunes himself might be in the mix for that role. You used to be director of national intelligence. Is that a good replacement for Dan Coats?
CLAPPER: Well, I don't think anyone who is an ideologue and who is a cross light, an acolyte (Ph) of the president which Devin Nunes is, can't -- new to the principle what the autonomy of independence that needs to exist with the leadership in the intelligence community.
LEMON: Yes. It's always a pleasure.
CLAPPER: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: How's our friend doing, Mr. Hayden?
CLAPPER: He is doing great.
LEMON: I haven't spoken to him in a couple weeks but I owe him a phone call.
CLAPPER: Well, he and I had breakfast a week or so ago and he was terrific.
LEMON: Yes. I hope he's watching. If not, say hello. I'll talk to him soon, though. Thank you very much.
Joe Biden unveiling a new criminal justice plan ahead of next week's CNN Democratic presidential debates. Will it deflect attention from the controversial 1994 crime bill he helped write that contributed to mass incarceration?
[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: With one week to go until CNN's Democratic presidential debates, Joe Biden is unveiling his criminal justice reform plan, a plan he hopes will deflect attacks over the controversial 1994 crime bill that he wrote 25 years ago.
Let's discuss now. Keith Boykin is here, as well as Bakari Sellers who supports Senator Kamala Harris.
Good evening, gentlemen. So good to see you.
Keith, I'm going to start with you. So, the vice president -- former vice president's new plan includes recommendations from CBC members and seeks to reduce the number of people in prison while also reducing crime.
So, let me just read the main points, OK? Creating a $20 billion grant program aimed at pressuring states to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent crimes, incentivizing inmates to complete educational and rehabilitation programs, retroactively eliminating the disparity between sentences for crack and powder cocaine and decriminalizing marijuana use.
So, my question is, does this plan help take the heat off of him for this 1994 crime bill?
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, and no. I mean, it's important step for Joe Biden to take. He has been criticized about his bill and the crime bill, and it's not his vote but his authorship of the crime bill.
And I think that this is an acknowledgement that we've moved in the wrong direction some 20-odd years ago. And it's time to move in a different direction.
Having said that, people aren't going to forget what happened in the 1990s. I mean, Hillary Clinton was a pillory in attack for her support of the crime bill when she wasn't even a U.S. senator at the time. She wasn't even the president of the United States. She wasn't the author of the bill.
So, I think that Joe Biden is still going to have to answer those questions just like Bernie Sanders is going to have to answer the questions for why he voted for it and anybody else who is supportive of it.
BOYKIN: The Democratic Party of 1994 is not the Democratic Party of 2020.
LEMON: Yes. Bakari, Senator Cory Booker has already come out swinging -- sending out a statement that reads "Joe Biden had more than 40 years to get this right. The proud architect of the failed system is not the right person to fix it."
I mean, listen, Biden has done a lot over his 40 years in public service and was not the only person responsible for the crime bill. Shouldn't voters give his plan a chance now? BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he has done a lot
over the past 40 years and part of that is the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act that he did with Strom Thurmond in '86, '88, and '94 crime bill.
All of these things established what we now know to be mass incarceration. People just want to look at 1984 but it's very difficult when you have someone who created this mass incarceration complex that we have.
I mean, it's an interesting juxtaposition. Before he was with Barack Obama, what type of legislator was he. And when you go back and you look at the record and you're talking about alleviating this crack and cocaine sentencing disparities, well, you helped create those.
When you talk about investing in juvenile justice, well, you are the reason that many juveniles, two-thirds of those juveniles that were actually sentenced as adults that were African- American, you're the reason that that happened. You created these laws over the 40 years that you were there without Barack Obama at your side. So, what type of leader will you be? You have to reconcile that record.
And just to clarify one thing, one of the biggest sticking points and I think Keith will agree with me on this, is that Joe Biden, it's kind of tricky in the language that they use because it says that he decriminalizes marijuana.
But what he does is he says that marijuana could -- marijuana can be used for medical purposes. However, he does not legalize marijuana on the federal level which is a huge problem.
LEMON: So, Keith, you heard what Bakari said there and you know, Biden is going to be sandwiched in between Senators Booker and Harris at the CNN debate next week.
[23:30:07] I mean, Booker seems ready to fight. You saw -- read the statement that he put out. Harris attacked him at the last debate. Are we likely to see a pile on here?
BOYKIN: I think -- I wouldn't say there's going to be pile on, but I think there's going to be a challenge for Joe Biden. And the question is will he be prepared to face that challenge this time. The first debate, he looked like a deer in the headlights when Kamala Harris asked him about the bussing issue.
In this debate, he's got to come prepared. He's got to have a better answer. But he's going to be sandwiched in between Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, so I'm not sure if he's going to be ready for that or not.
I just want to go back to something Bakari said because I thought that Kamala Harris's proposal -- you can correct me if I'm wrong -- also decriminalizes marijuana but it doesn't --
BOYKIN: -- legalize it. Does it?
LEMON: It decriminalizes marijuana on the federal level, which is what the distinction that Bakari was making, but Bakari, before you weigh in, as the attorney general in 2010, she opposed legalizing marijuana.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.
LEMON: She has her own record on that, as well, to defend.
SELLERS: No question. That's why it's very important that you reconcile those records. And yes, the difference is, one is legalizing marijuana on the federal level, which is a clear distinction. The other one is saying decriminalize medical marijuana only for the purposes of medical usage. And so that's a very clear distinction.
One of the things that Senator Harris did today when she put forth this piece of legislation, she also talked about the fact that -- and both want to do this, let's be honest and fair -- both want to expunge the records of individuals who have marijuana convictions, but Senator Harris actually went a step further and said, "We're going to tax this federal marijuana and the reason we're going to tax it is so that it can help those individuals who have been disenfranchised, those individuals who had these convictions, and individuals who want to get into this industry, and so it's a robust piece of legislation."
Look, everybody has a record. Senator Harris has her own criminal justice record, and she's going to have to reconcile, as well.
LEMON: OK. So, you didn't defend her record. On her own record, as I said, the question was, she has her own record to defend, not in comparison to the vice president, but she has her own record to defend?
SELLERS: Correct. There is no doubt about it. I think that I can honestly sit here and say that in 2010, Senator Harris was wrong on that, so I was happy to see that progression. But I also think that it's fair to say that one of the things that you have to do is recognize when you were wrong, recognize the evolution.
And one of the things that's been the biggest hold up for people like Jim Clyburn, for those who actually signed on to the 1994 crime bill, for even Joe Biden, it's very difficult to look at a camera and say "I was wrong." Bobby Rush has had a mea culpa. Dick Durbin has said that this was one of the worst votes he has ever taken in his life.
If Joe Biden remained steadfast in that position while there are many black and brown people who have suffered in his hands, then this is not going to go over well. So that's going to be an interesting thing to see on that stage. Senator Harris has recognized she was wrong and she had to because she was, and she has evolved on that issue with what we know to be one of the better marijuana positions we have.
LEMON: Keith, I want to give you the last word.
BOYKIN: Yeah, I think that's important because I don't think that Kamala Harris or Joe Biden or any of the candidates for that matter that I am aware of come to this whole debate with perfect records. And the question isn't who has the perfect record. The question is: What are the best policies that they are proposing? And secondly, are they willing to acknowledge their mistakes in the past? You know, I don't believe --
BOYKIN: -- in rehabilitation or forgiveness without contrition. And I think that -- one of the things I do worry about with Joe Biden is his stubbornness sometimes, his unwillingness to acknowledge that he made a mistake. I mean, even Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have acknowledged that the crime bill went too far. I can't imagine why Joe Biden wouldn't also agree with that, too, and apologize for that or acknowledge at least, if not apologized, acknowledge his mistakes and propose something that movers us forward.
LEMON: Keith, Bakari, thank you very much. I'll see you guys soon. Don't miss the CNN democratic presidential debates next Tuesday and Wednesday. Dana Bash, Jake Tapper, and I are going to moderate, July 30th and 31st, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
A high school student who was born in Dallas and is a U.S. citizen spent three weeks behind bars until he was released from ICE custody today. His story, next.
[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The Trump administration's policy of rounding up and deporting undocumented immigrants is dividing America, but this next story is really shocking. Eighteen-year-old Francisco Erwin Galicia, a U.S. citizen, born in Dallas, was released just tonight after three weeks behind bars in ICE custody.
Back on June 27th, Francisco was headed to a college soccer scouting event in North Texas when he was detained even though he had documentation proving that he is a citizen.
I want to bring in now Claudia Galan. She is Francisco's attorney. Claudia, thank you so much. I really appreciate you joining us. So listen, I got to say --
CLAUDIA GALAN, ATTORNEY FOR FRANCISCO ERWIN GALICIA: Thank you.
LEMON: You went to ICE --
GALAN: Thank you for having me.
LEMON: Absolutely. You went to ICE detention -- to the ICE detention facility today expecting just -- you were just going to meet with Francisco, and then he was unexpectedly released tonight. You have spoken to him. How is he doing?
GALAN: Correct. He's doing -- he's really happy to be released now. He's actually on his way to Edinburg, Texas to see his mom, and his mom is really happy that he was released this afternoon when I got there.
LEMON: How was he treated while he was in custody? What did he tell you about the conditions?
GALAN: He told me that while he was in border patrol custody, it was the worst conditions. He was in a small room along with other 60 people, only one toilet, no doors, no walls. People were sleeping on the floor.
[23:40:01] It was extremely cold. He said that he was hungry all the time and that he would just sleep to, you know, forget about being hungry. He lost a lot of weight. And he said that once he was transferred to ICE custody, the conditions were a little bit better, but nevertheless, he wanted to be out of there.
LEMON: Claudia, is it true that he told you that authorities kept trying to intimidate him?
GALAN: Yes. When he was in custody with border patrol, they used, you know, scare tactics. They told him that his birth certificate was fake, that he should go back to Mexico. Actually, the intimidation was very extreme that he got to a point where he said, "OK, I am from Mexico, yes. I guess -- just, you know, deport me."
LEMON: Yeah. So you said they kept telling him his birth certificate was fake?
LEMON: I mean did they try to get to the bottom of this? Why would this take so long to do?
GALAN: I don't think they were really trying to investigate, you know, and get to the bottom of this. They had since day one an original birth certificate that he was carrying on him. At the time that he was detained, I honestly don't know why they just didn't look into further.
He had a tourist visa, so when they checked the database, a tourist visa came up on the system. And so because of that conflict of the tourist visa and having a U.S. birth certificate, they kept him longer. Nevertheless, about a week ago, when I went to border patrol headquarters in Edinburg, I turned in a copy of his original birth certificate for border patrol to act.
And when he was transferred to ICE, his mom got really worried and this is when we decided to take this out to the community and get the help from the community and the media.
LEMON: OK, so, Claudia, take me back to -- let's go back a bit, to how this all unfolded. Francisco and his brother --
LEMON: -- were trying to go to a soccer scouting event when they got caught in the CBP -- in a checkpoint, right?
LEMON: He had documentation.
LEMON: But they still detained him?
GALAN: Yes, they did.
GALAN: Honestly, they just were racial profiling him. He was in a vehicle along with another person who had no status. His brother himself has no status. They just thought that because he had a tourist visa, his birth certificate was not real. They -- he also had his Texas I.D. and a social security card. All of those three documents should be sufficient proof that he is a U.S. citizen.
LEMON: So, anyone of CBP or ICE, have they acknowledged that Francisco should never have been detained?
GALAN: They have not. I've only spoken to the deportation, Officer Morales, who was in charge of his case. They did not apologize. They did not acknowledge that it was a mistake. He just said, "Thank you for your patience." I have spoken to border patrol. Attorney Mary Garza did not acknowledge that it was a mistake.
LEMON: So, his story, Francisco's story was covered by the Dallas Morning news. It gained a ton of traction on social media. How long do you think that he would have been detained if this story hadn't caused such a stir, that it didn't get so much attention?
GALAN: I mean, I honestly don't have a day. It could be weeks. I mean, he could even get deported. This has happened in the past. So as soon as he was transferred to ICE, given an alien number and placed in removal proceedings, I knew I had to act quick in order to stop his deportation. He's starting 12th grade next month, and I wanted to make sure that he could, you know, go back to school and just go back to his normal life.
LEMON: Yeah. So listen, according to the L.A. Times last year, nearly 1,500 people were released from ICE custody since 2012 after investigating their citizenship claims. Have you heard any other stories like Francisco's where people were wrongfully detained?
GALAN: Absolutely. I've heard about another story that -- actually he's a San Antonio sit citizen. I believe this was last year. He was deported to Mexico. He came back. While he was in Mexico, he was abducted and then they let him go and he came back to the U.S. I believe that he filed a formal demand against Homeland Security for his wrongful detention in the past, working with other attorneys, filed motions, you know, to terminate proceedings of U.S. citizen. So this has happened in the past.
LEMON: Yeah. Claudia, thank you so much. And listen, he's welcome to come on any time to tell his story. We'd love to hear from him. Thank you so much.
GALAN: Thank you.
LEMON: A chill in Silicon Valley tonight as the DOJ launches a formal antitrust review of the nation's biggest tech companies. We'll tell you who is under investigation, next.
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LEMON: The Justice Department is turning its sights on big tech, launching a formal antitrust review of the nation's biggest tech companies amid growing complaints of anti-competitive behavior.
Matthew Rosenberg is here to discuss, as well as Renato Mariotti.
Good evening, gents. Thank you so much. The announcement from the DOJ, Matthew, doesn't name names. Who and what are they looking for?
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, look, they are really looking at the big tech companies: Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon --
LEMON: All the ones.
ROSENBERG: All the ones. You know their names. We use all their products every day. The question is: What are they looking at? That's a little unclear so far. You know, there are privacy concerns that are broad over how your data is being used, how your information is being used.
[23:50:00] There are concerns about competition. You look at Facebook's purchase of Instagram or WhatsApp. Those platforms would be markedly different today if they have not been purchased by Facebook. You look at how Google dominates advertising, you know, imposing on fair practices.
There's such a big range of issues here that we're not quite sure where they are going, but we do know there's a big public (INAUDIBLE) and there's a lot of bipartisan support for this. This is from the right and from the left.
LEMON: Yeah. Renato, let's bring you in, because the goal of this investigation is to determine whether these companies and their online Platforms have hurt competition, suppress innovation, or otherwise
harm consumers. Do you believe they have?
RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I think there's certainly a legitimate question. I agree that this is something that is an issue on the left and right. I will say I'm a little concerned about the investigation being launched by the Trump administration because we have seen in the past with the AT&T-Time Warner merger lot of questionable activity there by the Trump administration. And, you know, this could be used by Trump to potentially go after people who are potentially critical of him. He has been critical of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. He has also obviously had a feud with Amazon and Jeff Bezos.
So, one concern I have is the Trump administration is generally not aggressive on antitrust. This is an exception to that. It's really an area in which these companies are not engaging in the type of activity that traditionally conservatives will tackle in antitrust. I'm interested in seeing where this goes. I am alarmed despite my concerns about potential activity by some of these companies about whether this will be misused by the Trump administration.
LEMON: Matthew, I'm wondering why, because you said regardless of rational or political motive, you said that this was a good move for the wrong reasons. Explain that.
ROSENBERG: I think that's a bit of what Renato was just saying. The Trump administration has not been aggressive in antitrust at all.
ROSENBERG: Yet the president himself has gone after Amazon. Among kind of the conservative right wing, there is a sense that tech companies are Liberal or dominated by Liberals and that they are in (INAUDIBLE) relation with them. There's idea the tech companies are discounting their followers or taking away Trump followers or somehow burying their messages.
We have seen no evidence of this, but it's a theory that has come to dominate conservative politics. It has come up in congressional hearings. It has come up with President Trump. And so, you know, there is a fear that this is the reason for this move.
ROSENBERG: And if that is true, that is the wrong reason.
LEMON: Wasn't the -- I mean, wasn't the exact opposite, Renato, in 2016 because, you know, other big tech giants -- Facebook and other big tech giants kind of under fire for the -- in the past, as you say, for violations as well as being tools in the 2016 presidential election. Have they been given too much freedom with no accountability, do you think?
MARIOTTI: I actually do think that some of those platforms don't have enough accountability to public officials. That said, what we saw, Don, in the 2016 election is the incredible influence of Facebook and the abuse of that platform by Russian trolls and kind of Russian intelligence operation meant to influence our election.
In response to that, Facebook has taken some steps to deal with that, particularly with foreign influence. But, you know, as he just pointed out a moment ago, Trump and his allies believe that Facebook, Twitter, some of these platforms are against them. What I worry about is this is very starting to have an impact on their stocks. I'm worried about him using this as leverage against them.
LEMON: It's interesting -- similar question. It's interesting that they would say that because Facebook and Twitter, I mean, he uses Twitter every day. Haven't they been instrumental in the success of his campaign and this administration?
ROSENBERG: I mean, you're right, he uses Twitter every day to great effect. It's a huge communication tool for him. Facebook, you know, during the last campaign, they offered to have people sit in both campaigns, Clinton and Trump campaign, to help them work with advertising and whatever. It's fairly neutral thing.
The Trump campaign took advantage of that and did incredibly well on Facebook in pushing up messages. So you think, well, you know, (INAUDIBLE), but there is a deep seeded belief among many on the right, they call it shadow banning, that somehow their users, their supporters are being banned and knocked off social media. Their follower accounts are being artificially cut down. Although there's no evidence of it, it's a strong belief. The president has aired that view and many of his allies had as well.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, Matthew. Thank you, Renato. I appreciate it. CNN's coverage of the former special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony before Congress begins at 8:00 a.m. Don't miss it. Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.
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